Between social media and big cinema

Despite what is written below, we have some good news

At first glance, the field of short films today is not going through the best of times. Of course, the film industry is showing growth and the number of billion in investments, and the revenues are growing into the cosmos every year. But the beneficiaries of this don’t seem to be here, in the short film field.

Industry workers are slaving for 16 hours and going on strike. Filmmakers are humiliated and insulted. Festivals are bristling with grants and submission fees from filmmakers. The reality with VOD and social media has not been so rosy for the short form of cinema. Of course, there are also risks in the distribution movie industry. Despite the fact that this area is the most commodified and has hedging tools. Such instruments do not exist for the short film production and screening system (mostly at film festivals).

Filmmaking and social media

Indie filmmaking remained a place of experimentation or innovation until the advent of YouTube, Instagram or Tiktok. It should be recognized that video blogging has a more significant experience of interacting with audiences. YouTube and Tiktok authors are successful in seeking the new in extra short fiction or video art form.

Once such a field of experimentation was clipmaking. These experiments often evolved into feature films. In this regard, today’s social media is becoming a source of innovation for short films and beyond. At the same time, short film continues to evolve in its own form, which takes on tradition and classic lines. It should be noted that vertical videos for social media also utilize montage techniques that have evolved in cinema for over a hundred years. Sergei Eisenstein predicted the future for the vertical screen. The vertical screen embodies the potential of urban industrial culture. At the same time, the horizontal composition is characteristic of naturalistic aesthetics.

It should be noted that the structure and concept of social networks such as YouTube, Instagram, and Tiktok determine the diversity and novelty of techniques for laconic presentation of video content. The attention of the audience is an end in itself, a capital and a way of monetization. Reflexion and avant-garde search remain the marginalia of contemporary machines of eros utilization. (G. Bataille, Duchamp, Gi Debor). After a century, one can experience the disappointment of exploiting the possibilities of the vertical screen.

Filmmaking and “big cinema”

Thus, in recent decades, a cultural and intellectual basis for short (auteur) film has been formed in the face of serious transformations in screen media. On the one hand, it can be contrasted with the industrial film distribution system, for which auteurism is not a priority. A successful exception is, for example, Hong Kong cinema, where directors were given unprecedented freedom in the 1980-90s. On the other hand, auteur cinema cannot be reduced to social media content. Not the author, but algorithms that capitalize attention determine the form and content of uploaded clips.

A Better Tomorrow (John Woo, 1986)

The auteur cinema is capable of being an alternative to a one-dimensional world. (Marcuse). The short length meter remains a suitable form for auteur films. This is made possible by the low entry bar, the lack of requirements for a movie budget, and the access to self-education in filmmaking.

Thus the independent filmmaker continues to balance aesthetically on a tightrope between a moat of crocodiles and fire. On the one hand, he risks falling into the arms of neural network algorithms. The chimeras of engagement and involvement will engulf anyone who is fascinated by the quick fame and monetization of creativity. On the other hand, his sufferings and aspirations are devalued by the distribution cinema that has usurped the name of “big cinema”.